You would think, being largely unemployed, that I would have more time to blog and such things than I did when I was traipsing around the world.
Strangely, this is not the case. It’s not that I don’t have my self reflective moments, it’s that I have so many people in my life presently that it’s damned difficult to find the time to sit down and articulate them.
To update you a bit on my first month back…
I got new glasses, which I adore. I think they make me look more modern / adult, but maybe it’s just because they’re different. These were acquired in a flurry of other post trip doctors appointments.
I flew up to New Hampshire and rented a car to visit my grandparents, particularly my grandfather, who recently went off of chemo. It was a surreal trip. It was the first time I’ve been old enough to rent a car. I rolled in, picked up this car rental, flirted a bit with the awkward guy at the counter, and then knocked on my grandparent’s door. My grandparents have always been in many ways, proper folk. Reasonably nice clothes, a reasonable attention to appearances, etc. The image that sticks with me most from this trip was that my grandfather answered the door in nothing but his white undershirt and white underwear. His skin, already pale (I get it from somewhere), was almost the same color as his undershirt.
And his face lit up with such joy that it just about broke my heart and made the cost of the trip worth it.
It was surreal because here I am, renting a car and spending a few days doing things like talking with nurses about my grandparents. Nothing quite says “somewhere along the way, you got old” like taking care of people who used to change your diapers.
I went to New York City for about two days, just because. I had planned this trip several times over the past few years and kept on canceling it, largely because my job got in the way. Now, I have the time but no funds, but I did it anyway. The bus was only $13 each way, the hostel $35, I did it as cheaply as one can do Manhattan.
I had a realization on the bus up there that: this is what I’ve gotten comfortable with. Being on the bus, rolling into a hostel in a new city, cooking myself pasta in the hostel kitchen, this is what I have become familiar with. All that felt more familiar to me than any of the stuff I’ve been doing around DC.
I went to The Museum of Sex and was pretty much ready to not look at another penis for an untold amount of time afterward. I went to The Met and met up with a friend I had previously met at a Halloween party down here in DC. For me, the interesting thing about The Met was walking through and seeing things like “an earlier version of this is located at the Musée d’Orsay.” It was kind of like when you’re taking a history class and realize you can pull in what you learned from your economics class to further your argument: I love that stuff.
I did a tour with the Tenement Museum called “Getting By: Past and Present” which looked at the immigrant experience in their tenement building during the Depressions of the 1870s and 1930s and (tried to) compare it to the present day experiences. The tour itself was lovely, I can’t recommend the museum more. But I felt that the present aspect wasn’t as strong as it could have been, in large part because their “discussion” based model was too discussion based. You can’t take an issue like modern day immigration, throw in six senior citizens who happen to be lifetime Jewish New Yorkers and actually expect a discussion to happen.
The morning I left, I strolled through MoMa. I had completely forgotten about some of the classics in that museum, so I was pleasantly surprised several times. It was great to see Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth, a piece I have wanted to see since my 8th grade art class trip to the house that is in that painting. I also had a few moments like turning the corner and looking past a crowd to see… Starry Night. I should probably do more research on museums before I go?
While I was in New York, my UK student visa came through and I booked my flight shortly afterward – I fly out on the 23rd of September. I can’t really think that far ahead just yet.
The other day, a woman I have not seen in about a year told me – without knowing what I’ve been up to – that I looked different. That I seemed older. Not that I wasn’t mature beforehand, mind, but it seemed to her like I was older and more grounded.
Maybe that’s true.
Regardless, despite various stresses and frustrations that do exist in my life presently: I am happy. I’ve got some awesome people in my life, both new and old. I’m gearing up to study a topic I totally nerd out over. I am making tons of homemade ice cream.
I feel content and like I’m skipping on down the right path, whatever path that might be.
It’s a pretty good feeling.